Top 5 Spring Cleaning Tasks For Busy Entrepreneurs

messy desk

You wouldn’t know it with all that white stuff lying on the ground, but Spring has sprung in Colorado. Though most people are busy organizing closets or washing windows, Spring cleaning doesn’t only happen around the house.

The changing of the season also indicates the start of a new fiscal year, a good time to take stock of your last year of business, and set yourself up for success over the next 12 months. As freelancers and solopreneurs, we thrive on flying by the seat of our pants, but sometimes that makes for a disorganized style of business–and disorganization always costs time and money.

If you’ve been feeling a little chaotic and claustrophobic lately, here are five spring cleanup tasks that will bring order your desk, work flow, and professional life.

Sort and Delete

How many unused files still live on your hard drive? A final edit, software you tested, or CSS files from an old client? Yes, keeping them for a month after the project completes is normal. Keeping them a year after is not. It’s just digital clutter making it harder for you to access active files (and probably slowing down your machine, too). Take a couple of hours to open these archives and send what you don’t need to the recycling bin.

Pro tip! Store client work in the cloud or sign up for an organizational tool like Doo to keep things better organized in the future.

Update your Portfolio

Was 2012 a busy year? Proud of the work you’ve produced? Then it’s time to update your profile. Remember, portfolios are meant to be beautiful, exciting, and show your diversity as a professional. No matter what type of client you’re pitching, you want to be sure they’ll see the talent they’re looking for among examples of past work. Pro tip! Always make sure to ask client permission to include their project in a portfolio (or build that language into the contract).

Unsubscribe to Junk Mail

Throughout the year we sign up for lots of newsletters and email alerts that we don’t really need. Months later we find ourselves slogging through this same junk mail every morning. Reduce the clutter in your inbox by unsubscribing to any automatic emails that you don’t read or utilize on the regular.

Pro tip! Sometimes purchases or registrations for useful services come with unwanted email. Be sure to uncheck the newseltter/special offer box next time you’re signing up for something online.

Financial Facelift

For most entrepreneurs, tax time is a gut check. The IRS tells you in no uncertain terms whether you’re making and setting aside enough of your income. Take a few extra minute with your accountant or tax prep professional to ask questions about what you could do differently in the coming year. Maybe you need to up your savings. Or maybe you just need to up your rates. Thing about where you want to be financially next spring, and set the goals now that will help you get there.

Pro tip! Think about making quarterly tax payments this year if you haven’t been doing so already. Your tax professional can help you estimate how much these should be.

Reinvest in You

You spend thousands of hours doing what’s right for your clients, but when’s the last time you did something nice for your professional self? It’s very important for entrepreneurs to keep learning, experimenting, and discovering. Continually challenging yourself with new ideas and tools keeps your mind sharp, and that’s why clients keep coming back! Sign up for a class, attend a workshop, or get a change of scenery. New environments and people are the chisel’s that can help reveal new opportunities and talents hidden within your community.

Pro tip! Sign up for Cohere’s free day pass and come see what it’s like to work in a great space full of great people striving to be the best at what they do.

Image via MarketMeSuite/Flickr

Spring It On! Top 5 Ways To Be More Productive

spring time pinwheels

Happy First Day of Spring! It’s a fresh, new season, and that means it’s time to de-clutter both your space and your mind so you can be more efficient throughout the workday. We took some time to compile our collective business “best practices” to work—and from our desks to yours—here’s our Top 5 Ways to Be More Productive at Work.

1. Clean Up Your Work Space: You can’t be productive when you’re surrounded by chaos. If your desk is  buried in papers, books, power cords, and unread mail, you’re going to feel distracted and boxed in. Bonus: if you don’t feel like cleaning, just come work at Cohere, where the desks are always clutter free!

2. Set Manageable Goals: This probably sounds obvious, but how many of us actually begin the day with a clear strategy for productivity? Make a list of small, easy to accomplish goals that can be tackled as soon as you sit down. Don’t overwhelm yourself with large bulk tasks that you know you can’t do in a single sitting. Crossing things off the list will motivate you to do more.

3. Start A Social Media Diet: How many of you start your day by sleepily opening email and dicking around on social media until you remember something that needed to be done 10 minutes ago? Social media is fun and for many, a necessary part of marketing our businesses. But it can also be a huge time sink and distraction. Find tools that will allow you to schedule business-related social media posts throughout the day, so you can keep the tab closed for most of it. Set boundaries as to when and how much time you will spend monitoring your profiles, so productivity continues uninterrupted.

4. Track Your Time: The level of productivity you achieve is not directly proportionate with the amount of time you spend staring at your screen. The key is to be more mindful of your time and understanding your own internal work flow. Using a time tracking tool can help you understand how and when you work, so that you can make the most of your time. Check out Last5 (created by a San Francisco coworker!) a time tracking tool that improves mindfulness by managing and recording where your attention goes when you’re working on the computer. Tracking your time also makes invoicing way easier.

5. Delegate and Collaborate: News Flash – You can’t do everything. As your business grows, you’ll find yourself turning down work because there just aren’t enough hours in the day. And that blows. But why limit yourself when there’s an entire community of coworkers that can be your wingmen (and wingwomen)?! Instead of turning down that new project, think about delegating some of the tasks to a coworker who’s going through a dry spell. If the project’s scope exceeds your capabilities, think about collaborating with one or more coworkers to provide comprehensive services your client wasn’t expecting. You’ll forge new working relationships, and everyone gets a slice of the spoils. #win.

How productive have you been this week? Do you have more productivity tips to share? Go ahead and share them in the comments below!

Image via Flickr/Pink Sherbet Photography

 

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